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Newsletter no.7 from Ald Anna Reynolds - October 2015
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Hobart loves a street party ... or five!

In September, hundreds (nay, thousands!) visited pop-up festivals in Battery Point, South Hobart, Lenah Valley, and New Town, and Elizabeth Street in the CBD to help plan better neighborhoods. Thank you to the community champions who put so much work into making these street parties happen! They're a solid foundation for the Hobart City Council's program to revamp neighborhood streets. This project is so important for our community, and we're part of a global movement.

People are asking me: what's the next step? In December, we'll receive a report with recommendations on what to do in each of the areas. From this, some streets may be ready to go with the idea they tested on the street party day, while other streets might need to do some more thinking and discussion, and have another event to further test ideas. I'm pretty confident that over the coming years all of the streets that threw a party will get a revamp to make their area more people-friendly.

Housing for all, not just rich

Achieving more affordable housing in Hobart needs more than good intentions. Some time ago, Hobart City Council proposed that the Macquarie Point Corporation include affordable housing in its master plan for redeveloping that important part of Hobart.

This is in line with our current
Affordable Housing Strategy, that commits Council to:
  • "develop planning policies to encourage affordable housing",
     
  • "investigate and provide advice regarding the feasibility of one-off planning scheme amendments and formal development agreements as mechanisms to facilitate affordable housing development." 
These good intentions have yet to become reality, and it’s time they did.

Talking to the housing policy experts at Shelter Tasmania
, it's clear to me that Mac Point presents a good opportunity to get some action - so at last week's Council meeting when we were setting the planning rules for Mac Point, I moved an amendment to secure some affordable housing at the site. My amendment was informed by provisions that local governments have put into planning schemes and development approvals around Australia.

In South Australia there is a requirement for all new "significant‟ developments to include 15% affordable dwellings. In WA, several jurisdictions have implemented mandatory provisions, including the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority which has a target of 12% affordable housing for new developments over 10 units, delivered in combination with the Department of Housing and community housing providers.

Given Macquarie Point is a State government (and therefore publicly-owned) project, and Premier Hodgman has just released the Tasmanian Affordable Housing Strategy, the inclusion of a requirement for affordable housing should be relatively straight-forward, and a useful test case for rolling out this kind of planning provision more broadly.

Some people at Council are concerned that this might be challenged by the State government or the Planning Commission, and that we might be trying something new and untested. But I think making change is what we’re here for! My amendment only just lost, with a 6 all vote, but it's been moved for further discussion back to Committee, so perhaps we can eventually get a good result.
SoHo's initiative wins a Good
Neighbourhood agreement


Earlier this year, word started getting around South Hobart that contrary to public understanding, the McRobies Gully tip was actually not going to close in 2017.

The community was pretty frustrated that Council had never officially consulted with them on this plan, even though the South Hobart community has hosted landfill sites for Greater Hobart for over fifty years. In April, I moved that Council consult with the South Hobart community about plans to extend the tip, but my motion was voted down by a majority of Aldermen.

So the community decided to not get mad, but to get organised! A public forum was held in August that I was asked to speak at. The "Don't Waste Our Future" Forum resolved that Council:

1. Reflect the South Hobart community’s ideas in the City of Hobart’s new Towards Zero Waste Strategy – as our community has a strong interest in seeing a dramatic reduction in the amount of material being buried as soon as possible.

2. Enter into a Good Neighbour Agreement with the South Hobart community to ensure any landfill site extension, management of the site, and waste management strategies can lessen the impact on this community and our local environment.

There's much more detail in the
letter that the forum organisers wrote to Council.

The good news is that Council has now responded, and agrees that many of the good ideas put forward at the Forum will find their way into the Towards Zero Waste Strategy, due in a few months. Council will also start discussions about a Good Neighbour Agreement with the community, which is a bit of a first for Tassie!

This is a great example of a community being proactive, holding Council to account, coming up with positive ideas, and getting some good results.

And while we're talking about waste...

It was clear at the Waste Forum that South Hobart loves the Tip Shop, and it was praised as one of the best in the country!  The Tip Shop folks are hosting a national community recycling meeting in November, and as part of this, a breakfast fundraising event call "Closing The Loop". I'm looking forward to being there, particularly to hear more from Erin Lewis-Fitzgerald of
Bright Sparks Australia. This is a social enterprise that reuses and repairs electrical appliances that other places tell you to throw out! Find out more about the event and book your tickets here.

Cruise ship pollution


The fuels used by cruise ships are among the dirtiest in the world. Europe requires ships to switch to low sulphur fuel when in port, and in the US cruise ships must stay 360 kilometres (200 nm) offshore if they are still burning bunker fuel.

When cruise ships visit the Hobart waterfront, the exhaust plumes from their generators are like factory smokestacks. Earlier this year, Ald Helen Burnet initiated a report from Council about what should be done to minimise the potential harm from these emissions.

A few weeks ago Council decided to “request the EPA to conduct a discrete air quality monitoring program on the Hobart waterfront in partnership with Tas Ports during the cruise ship season to determine the public health and environmental impacts from cruise ship emissions, focusing on particulate emissions of PM 2.5, nitrogen oxides, and to the greatest extent possible on sulphur oxides.”

I went one step further and proposed that, in addition to any monitoring program, the Tas EPA should follow the precautionary principle (and the initiative of the NSW EPA) and simply require that cruise ships visiting Hobart use low-sulphur diesel fuel. The lower the sulphur content in diesel, the less fine particles and sulphur oxides the fuel creates when burned.

The NSW EPA did this because in the end, they found monitoring and testing inconclusive, but they wanted world's best practice for Sydney Harbour. Given Hobart's image trades on our clean air, this is a step I think we should take too.
Hobart's light rail opportunity

Urban rail and public transport are finally back on the national agenda - just in time for the next election! Hobart's light rail project is something I have been advocating for over a number of years, because it's a clever and affordable way to transform our city's transport infrastructure.

Hobart has congestion issues, and Tasmania has a higher than average household spend on transport, because of our dependence on cars and a lack of public transport. Hobart needs an iconic public transport project like light rail to set our city up for the future.

This project (and better public transport generally) needs the collective commitment of local, state and federal governments. At a recent public meeting in Hobart, guest speaker Professor Peter Newman told us how light rail is transforming small cities worldwide. I called for Hobart-based politicians to start working together, because if we don't we will miss the best opportunity we've had in years to get public transport funded in Hobart.

We are competing with cities such as Newcastle, Parramatta, the Gold Coast, Geelong and Cairns who all want light rail. Local Government can make a big difference if we are determined and focused - the Gold Coast Light Rail only happened because that local Council agreed that it was a priority, funded some great staff to develop plans, and harnessed lobbying power to push state and federal governments.

I plan to meet soon with the Hobart and Glenorchy Mayors and other elected representatives that have shown support to see whether we can give this another push. Professor Newman says money will be available for cities that produce an integrated plan that demonstrates how the proposal with transform the city.

So what does this mean for Hobart's own transport strategy?

I'll be keeping Professor Newman's practical advice in mind as Hobart City Council starts drafting a new transport strategy. This document is meant to replace the
Sustainable Transport Strategy, which had some great goals but as is the case with many strategies, not enough implementation.

I'm all for the development of strategies to harness new ideas and commit to new goals, but I don't want them to end up on a shelf gathering dust! A Transport Plan is a great opportunity to get buy-in from the community - and the more buy-in, the more likely results will be achieved. Good examples I like are from
Adelaide and Fremantle. What ideas would you like to see in Hobart's next Transport Plan? Please email me on ald.reynolds@hobartcity.com.au.
Tweaking the rule book

I wrote a few months ago about the introduction of Hobart's new 'interim' planning scheme - this is the rule book for new developments in our city until the next suite of changes that come with the promised 'Statewide Planning Scheme' which may change the rules again!

Most of the discussions about the Hobart Interim Planning Scheme took place before I was elected. However, there were a few opportunities to make some last minute changes, so I intervened on a couple of issues...one successfully, and one not!

Bike parking amendments - working with the Bicycle Network, I championed the idea that new developments be required to have bike parking, including shops, offices, and schools. Our new rules should be based on best practise around the country, so now future developments will be required to provide much more bike parking.


Sunshine in the city - I raised concern that one developer was advocating for last minute changes to our solar penetration rules, that if implemented would impact on building heights and the amount of sunshine for the entire inner city zone. The original Interim Planning Scheme proposed that when assessing a building application, one of the things we should factor in before approving is that "the overshadowing of the public footpath on the opposite side of the street is not increased between 11am - 3pm at the spring and autumn equinox compared with the existing situation". That's quite specific, and for good reason - we need clear and certain rules to avoid tall buildings looming over a city street and reducing the amount of sunshine.

One city developer wrote in during the public comment period and proposed that this very specific rule be watered down to "does not unreasonably impact on pedestrian amenity." As a helpful legal adviser said, "why would Council move from rules which are clear cut and provide certainty for developers, decision-makers and the Tribunal, to a vague and subjective term like pedestrian amenity?" I argued successfully to keep the original rules in Committee, but there were not enough votes for this on full Council.
For your diary...

Knocklofty Open Day - 15 November

Hobart City Council is having an
Open Day to celebrate Knocklofty Reserve and collect community memories. There'll be a free picnic lunch, flora tours, a dig for the Knocklofty dinosaur, and orienteering. Everyone is welcome and I hope to see you there on Sunday 15 November from 10am - 2pm.

Council LIVE! - 9 November

Yes, it seems to good to be true - now you can follow all the excitement of Council meetings from the comfort of your armchair! The first live streaming of a Council meeting will be 9 November 2015...tune in at 5pm, check out the HCC website.

Job opportunity - Volunteer researcher

I'd love to have the help of a volunteer researcher or two. Delve into interesting topics and enjoy the feeling of helping your city! Please
email me if you'd like to assist.

The Fantastic Denison Greens Quiz Night

This Quiz Night (a fundraiser for the Denison Greens) will be on Saturday 14 November, 7.00 pm for 7.30 pm start, in the Old Hutchins School Building, Hobart. Snacks will be provided, and drinks available! Tickets $20 ($15 concession), book online. Special guests: Senator Nick McKim, Denison MP Cassy O’Connor, and Greens local government reps from greater Hobart.

Area of Macquarie Point development





 
Households with incomes below 120% of the gross median income are
considered to experience housing stress when their housing costs exceed 30% of gross household income.




 





 








 







 




 












 
Cruise ship emissions (from Seaspout)







 
Our railway tracks - a potential public transport solution connecting the northern suburbs with the city - are getting rusty.








 










 











 



 
Bicycle Network Tasmania



 






 

 







 
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Please stay in touch!
 

I'd love to hear your ideas and opinions, and receive your feedback on Council decisions.

Email me at
ald.reynolds@hobartcity.com.au
Call me on 0423222149
Write to me at Town Hall, Macquarie Street, Hobart 7001.
And please join my facebook page.

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Previous editions:
Newsletter 1 (Jan 2015)
Newsletter 2 (Feb 2015)
Newsletter 3 (April 2015)
Newsletter 4 (May 2015)
Newsletter 5 (July 2015)
Newsletter 6 (August 2015)


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